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William V. R. Shellow, ’63 MD, retired from the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System on August 31, 2020 after 50 years of service. To commemorate the occasion, his colleagues awarded him with an Outstanding Leader and Mentor Award in recognition of his “excellence, dedication, and professionalism” throughout his half-century career in the Department of Dermatology. Shellow plans to spend time volunteering during his retirement.

Stephen Michael Soreff, ’69 MD, released a book, “Life’s Dueling Dualities: A Grandfather’s Legacy of Wisdom,” which delves into six of life’s contradictions, including such tensions as whether it is better to work alone or as part of a group, or if you should follow the rules or challenge them. “Life’s Dueling Dualities” is told through the lens of an author — “a grandfather, a father, a psychiatrist, a son, a brother, a wish-to-be-better golfer, a jogger, a sailor, a hiker, an amateur geologist, and a veteran of the ‘school of hard knocks’” — who has wrestled with all six dualities and shares his observations with his grandchildren and readers. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

Sheldon Rabin,’69 MD, ’70 MS, a three-time Northwestern University alum, co-founded Precision Biologics, a company for the diagnosis and treatment of 12 advanced, refractory metastatic tumors, including, but not limited to the pancreas, lung, breast, ovary, colon, and esophagus. Precision Biologics has isolated specific human, immunogenic cancer antigens and has developed immunogenic monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of metastatic tumors — including 102 and 201 antibodies.


Leo A. Gordon, ’73 MD, FACS, was awarded Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s second annual Master Clinician award on November 2. Gordon is professor of Surgery at the Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, California, and senior consultant in Clinical Surgery at the Surgery Group of Los Angeles, a surgical multispecialty group. He is the prior recipient of Cedars-Sinai’s Medical Chief of Staff Award, a recognition of safe, quality patient care, and the Golden Apple Award for excellence in clinical teaching.

Bob Larsen, ’78 MD, clinical professor of Psychiatry at University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, will publish his first book March 2021, “Wounded Workers: Tales of a Working Man’s Shrink.” Larsen’s book recounts the stories of America’s workforce subjected to physical and psychological trauma for doing their jobs. The book focuses on tales from the trenches and workers tormented by ill fortune, both natural and man-made, says Larsen, including those subjected to shootings, amputations, and healthcare-induced disability. Larsen’s personal journey as a working-class kid who becomes a scientist, physician, and professor is intertwined. More information about the book can be found at workingmansshrink.com.


Edward Traisman, ’81 MD, ’84 GME, a graduate of the Honors Program in Medical Education, completed his pediatric training at Children’s Memorial Hospital in 1984, then joined Chicago Area Pediatrics. His area of interest is pediatric rehabilitation medicine and the care of the chronically ill. Traisman is a professor of Clinical Pediatrics and of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Feinberg. Away from the office, he likes to run for exercise and enjoys creating clay figure sculptures. Traisman retired on July 31, 2020 and plans to spend more time with his family as well as pursuing his favorite leisure time activities.

Paul M. Palevsky, ’81 MD, has begun his two-year term as president of the National Kidney Foundation Board of Directors. Palevsky is internationally recognized as an expert in acute kidney injury and critical care nephrology. He is a member of the National Kidney Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science in the Renal-Electrolyte Division at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and chief of the Kidney Medicine Renal Section at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Ross A. Slotten, ’81 MD, MPH, recently published his memoir, “Plague Years: A Doctor’s Journey Through the AIDS Crisis.” After his time at Feinberg as a medical student, he completed his residency in Family Practice at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago in 1984. He has since been practicing medicine on the North Side of Chicago and became an accidental AIDS specialist when most patients with HIV or who were at risk for HIV were shunned by the medical community in the earliest days of the pandemic. Slotten also obtained a master’s degree in public health from the University of Illinois in 1994.

John R. Ruge, ’83 MD, ’89, ’90 GME, former Medical Alumni Association board member, was appointed chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Advocate Lutheran General and Advocate Children’s Hospital on September 1, 2020. Along with neurointerventionalists, the department is composed of 16 neurosurgeons and 26 advanced practice clinicians. In addition to Ruge’s own Northwestern legacy, his son, Nicholas, also holds a BA from Northwestern (Class of 2012).

Silvia Sara Canetto, ’87 PhD, professor of Psychology at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, received the American Association of Suicidology Award. The award recognizes lifetime achievements and outstanding contributions to suicide prevention. Canetto is internationally recognized for her scholarship on cultural scripts of gender and suicidal behavior. A focus of her current research is vulnerability to suicide of older, white men in the U.S. and the dominant masculinity narratives that may explain it. Canetto holds graduate degrees from the University of Padova, Italy, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Coco Cabrel, ’89 MD, was featured in the Daily Northwestern for her work teaching virtual flamenco dance classes and guided meditation to boost mental health during the pandemic and for offering these resources to help students reduce their stress levels during quarantine. As Cabrel shared, “In the alone times, when there is nobody to talk to, students can listen to a guided meditation and find solace from that. You can feel good, feel peace, and feel uplifted enough to keep going.”

Memories of VA Lakeside

In honor of the 75th anniversary of academic affiliations with the Veterans Health Administration, alumni share their memories and anecdotes about their time training at VA Lakeside.

Thomas J. Ekkers, ’65 MD, writes about his time on his surgical rotation at VA Lakeside:

“I was in a classroom meeting when I first heard of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. We had World War ll veterans with war wounds still being treated and one of our jobs consisted of inserting pre-op NG tubes.”

Mark Nolan Hill, ’77 MD, FACS, remembers with fond memory:

“It was a great opportunity then to ‘feel like a doctor’ when we were in our preclinical years – a chance to examine patients, wear our short white coat, and have the VA patients actually call us doctor. The attendings and residents were very encouraging as they allowed us to examine the VA patients, under their direction, in these early years of medical school. I particularly remember Dr. Jim Hines, former chief of Surgery, and Dr. Neil Stone (Cardiology) as being enthusiastic in their mentoring at Lakeside. Most importantly, I was always impressed at how much the VA patients appreciated us medical students and were incredibly gracious and accepting of our innocence and inexperience.”

Richard “Rick” Vander Heide, ’86 MD, PhD, recounts how times have changed:

“The facilities were old. During the summer months, the air conditioning (if there was any) did not work and often the windows were open in the surgery locker room to get a breeze. Medical students were asked to escort patients to and from the various testing sites, usually radiology. I remember having to wade through the cigarette smoke to get to my patient. Times have changed. The cafeteria at the VA was something out of a ‘M*A*S*H’ episode. The food was plentiful, but it was better if you didn’t look too closely before eating it. In the outpatient clinics on the first floor, the charts (all paper of course) were color coded; I remember seeing orange charts for patients who had served and been exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. The call rooms were essentially old hospital ward rooms — men in one room, women in the other. All that said, I would not trade my experience at Lakeside for anything else — it was a great training experience.”


F. Wilson Jackson, ’92 MD, ’95 GME, was elected vice president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) and will begin his term in January 2023. Jackson most recently served as vice chair of PAMED’s board of trustees and leads Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. Jackson shared that he is “looking forward to serving the physicians in the state in the
years going forward. I certainly have mentors and role models from Northwestern medical school and McGaw to thank.”

Edward S.H. Kim ’93, ’96 MD, Medical Alumni Association board member and president-elect, has been appointed senior vice president and physician-in-chief for City of Hope Orange County. Kim will also serve as vice physician-in-chief for the City of Hope National Medical Center. He previously served as chair of Solid Tumor Oncology and Investigational Therapeutics, the Donald S. Kim Distinguished Chair for Cancer Research, medical director of the Clinical Trials Office at the Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina, and professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Gaurov Dayal, ’96 MD, was recently appointed as president and COO of Everside Health. Everside Health is the second-largest direct primary care provider in the U.S., currently operating in 32 states with 350 clinics. In his roles prior to joining Everside, Dayal served as president of new markets and chief growth officer at ChenMed, senior vice president at Lumeris and the first chief medical officer and president of healthcare delivery, finance, and integration at SSM Health.

Francis S. Nuthalapaty, ’98 MD, was appointed program director for the planned Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program at Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Graduate Medical Education program. Nuthalapaty is a recognized expert in medical education, curriculum development, program management, and mentoring of both faculty and residents. He also will continue to practice while serving as program director.


Jeffrey R. Smith, MD, ’90, ’94, ’95 GME, FACC, has been appointed chair for the Department of Medicine and Medical Specialties at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Rockford. Smith is a clinical associate professor in the department and has been on faculty since 1996. He directed cardiology education for the medical school, earning the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2010, as well as other recognition. Smith has served on the college’s Medical Executive Committee and several other committees and task forces.

Mark A. D’Agostino, MD, ’91, ’94 GME, was appointed chief medical officer of Alaxo Airway Stents, a provider of stent-based therapies. D’Agostino is board certified from the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Sleep Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and the American College of Surgeons; a founding member of the International Society of Sleep Surgeons; and a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, New Haven County Medical Society, Connecticut State Medical Society, and the Connecticut ENT Society. D’Agostino is on staff at four hospitals (Middlesex, Midstate, Griffin, and Yale) and is section chief at Middlesex Hospital.

Christine A. Dingivan, MD, ’96 GME, has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Emmes, a clinical research company based in Rockville, Maryland. Dingivan previously served as a senior executive with Novartis, becoming the company’s first global head of data and digital and creating a digital innovation lab connecting entrepreneurs with Novartis mentors, partners, and datasets in order to stimulate healthcare innovation. Before joining Novartis, Dingivan spent eight years at PPD, Inc., a leading global clinical research organization, where she served as chief medical officer and global head of strategic client solutions, as well as a member of the executive committee.

Nina L. Alfieri, MD, ’16 GME, ’19 MS, recently joined the editorial advisory board of Contemporary Pediatrics. Alfieri is an attending physician in Advanced General Pediatrics and Primary Care at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and an instructor of Pediatrics in the Division of Advanced General Pediatrics and Primary Care at Feinberg.


Aben E. Cooper ’95 MPT, MBA, Northwestern University Physical Therapy Alumni Association vice president, will have a training lab named in his honor at the new Peter J. Lindberg, MD, Center for Health and Human Performance building, now under construction, at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. While at Augustana College, Cooper was an Academic All-American student athlete and the first Black student from the college to be named as such. The Lindberg Center is set to open in the spring.


Susan M. Rubin, ’80 MA, MD, ’93, ’94 GME, was named the Ruth Cain Ruggles Chair of Neurology at NorthShore University HealthSystem. Rubin is clinical chair of the Department of Neurology at NorthShore and medical director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute. She is the also the director of NorthShore’s Women’s Neurology Program and a clinical associate professor at University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Previously, Rubin served on a task force for the American Academy of Neurology and on the Board of the Illinois Chapter of the National MS Society.

Dana R. Gossett, MD, ’11 MS, has been  appointed vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, focusing on ambulatory care and quality, and as deputy chief clinical officer at New York University Langone Health to oversee quality initiatives across the entire outpatient network. Gossett previously served as an endowed professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and served on faculty at Feinberg for ten years. At UCSF, she most recently focused on clinical administration, women’s health and ambulatory care, previously having led divisions of Obstetrics and Gynecology at both Northwestern and UCSF.

Peter S. Pang, MD, ’13 MS, has been promoted to department chair for Clinical, Education, and Research Programs at the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine, where he has served as interim chair since October 2019. Pang joined the IU School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine in 2014. He was later appointed to the newly-created role of vice chair for Strategic Innovation and was named vice chair for Operations and Clinical Strategy. Pang previously served for 10 years on faculty at Feinberg.


Robert M. Pick, ’80 DDS, ’82 GME, MS, FACD, FICD, has once again been appointed as an official media spokesperson for the American Dental Association, having been appointed in the year-to-year position for the past 35 years. He serves as an expert in the areas of dental implants, lasers, and emergencies and, as a result, has been featured on various media outlets such as Good Morning America, The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Chicago Tribune and others.

Pick was also once again recognized in Dentistry Today, the No. 1 read dental journal, as one of the “Top Leaders in Dentistry” in its 23rd Annual Leaders issue, having made the list for the past 23 years. He was also elected by his peers to the Global Summit’s Class of 2021, Doctor-to-Doctor World’s Top 100, with 8,400 online views overnight and 241 shares (a record for the institute).

Paul Tiwana, ’96 DDS, MD, was recently nominated as a director for the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Tiwana currently leads the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Oklahoma and also operates an independent private practice. He has previously served in multiple committee chair roles for the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and is a member of the Osteoscience Foundation Board.